Earlier this week, news broke that Facebook was working on a possible acquisition of Titan Aerospace, a company that produces solar-powered drones. These aircraft can travel in around the globe, relying on the sun for power to stay aloft for years at a time. They carry a payload of up to 250 pounds. Why does a social network need a high-tech satellite? Reportedly, Facebook wants to bring internet access to parts of the developing world that haven’t built out the infrastructure for web access on the ground. That’s a noble mission, although Facebook certainly has a bigger business agenda as well. Most interestingly, the move means that Facebook is now competing directly with Google and its Project Loon to bring internet access to the rapidly shrinking landscape of the unwired world. Loon, which has been in beta testing since 2011, uses a swarm of weather balloons that cruise through the stratosphere and beam web access down to special receivers on the ground. So which approach is better: Loon or drone? A long history of failed attempts to provide aerial internet access There is actually a long history of failed attempts to provide aerial internet access. Starting in the 1990s at… Read full this story
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